Where did the baby name Verilea come from in 1936?

The uncommon name Verilea was a one-hit wonder in the U.S. baby name data way back in the 1930s:

  • 1938: unlisted
  • 1937: unlisted
  • 1936: 7 baby girls named Verilea [debut]
  • 1935: unlisted
  • 1934: unlisted

In fact, Verilea is tied with Arolyn as the top one-hit wonder girl name of 1936.

I have yet to figure out the source of Arolyn (which looks to me like a cut-off Carolyn), but I do know the source of Verilea.

As with several other rare names from the first half of the 1900s (like Thurley, Thayle, Ortrude, Ardeth, Aletta, Joretta, Elanda, Perilla, and Lorry) the influence was a fictional story printed in the newspapers.

The tale that featured “Verilea” was Unknown Sweetheart by Anne Gardner. It was serialized during the spring of 1936 and the main character was a young woman named Verilea Davis, who began on “a dirty, grinding old bus on the hill-roads of Kentucky” and ended up in “a modernistic New York penthouse high above smart Manhattan.”

Her name may have been inspired by the vocabulary word verily, which means “truly, certainly.”

Do you like the baby name Verilea? Would you use it?

Source: “I Don’t Even Know His Name, But…I Love Him!” Des Moines Tribune 22 Oct. 1935: 9.

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